Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dumpster Pools on Streets Without Cars

Damn, that last post was a real downer. Sorry, everyone. Why don't we beat the heat by taking a dip in a recycled dumpster parked on a car-free Park Avenue in front of Grand Central Station?

This is roughly what Park Avenue near 42nd Street will look like on three consecutive Saturdays in August, when the city invites pedestrian and cyclists to enjoy major streets without any motor vehicle traffic. It has all the trappings of a futuristic Ecotopia, where fashionable pedestrians have re-conquered the highways from automobiles and dumpsters hold swimming pools instead of garbage. Luckily the image above is just a Photoshop job, so that kid diving into the shallow end isn't really going to break his neck.

The dumpster pools are a new addition for the second annual "Summer Streets" event. This massive prohibition of motor vehicle traffic on one of Manhattan's major avenues to is actually an initiative of the city's Department of Transportation under the leadership of Janette Sadik-Kahn, an avid cyclist and pedestrian. Let this be a lesson to all the other Departments of Transportation: while your pencil-necked bureaucrats are making life more difficult for pedestrians and designing expensive new ways for people to waste their time in traffic, New York City is showing us how transportation planners can actually be lovable.

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